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Safety/Home Modifications

Alzheimer's Foundation of America- Dementia Friendly Home

Dementia-related illnesses impact the mind and affect virtually every aspect of a person’s life, including making many facets of daily living more difficult. Most residences are not built with the needs of an individual living with Alzheimer’s disease or other dementia-related illnesses in mind. However, almost every part of a residence can impact quality of life for someone living with a dementia-related illness and their family care partners. Even seemingly-cosmetic choices, such as wall colors, furniture patterns, and dishware, make a difference.


Simple DIY Modifications for a Dementia-Friendly Home

by Cheryl Alo

"Are you caregiving for a loved one with dementia? Does your loved one share a residence with you? If you answered yes to both of these questions, you most likely worry about your loved one’s safety, especially when he or she is alone at home. You may even feel as though you can never leave your loved one unsupervised which is a difficult task to balance in the throes of busy, everyday life. I am interested in providing solutions to enable individuals to remain living in their homes as they age for as long as possible."



Disaster Preparedness and Recovery for Older Adults


While everyone is at risk during a natural weather-related disaster or similar emergency, older adults can be especially vulnerable during these challenging times. Being prepared in advance can literally mean the difference between survival and death, particularly for those who may have special medical or mobility needs. Read on to learn more about safety planning steps to consider now, whether you plan to remain at home or be evacuated in the event of an emergency.



Bathroom Modifications for Seniors and People with Disabilities 

"An American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) study found that 90 percent of people over the age of 65 would prefer to age in place, that is live in their own homes as they grow older. They prefer this option instead of going to a nursing home or an assisted living facility. This brings up many critical safety concerns for their homes."



Home Safety for Seniors- What you should know -

"Decreased mobility and declining health are unfortunate effects of the aging process, and the factors listed below should be kept in mind when considering how to modify your house for yourself or a loved one..."



Devices to Help Prevent Falls​

"Appropriate use of assistive devices can prevent harmful falls. These devices may include canes, walkers, and reachers. A physical or occupational therapist can help you decide which devices might be helpful and teach you how to use them safely."


Home Safety Tips - Alzheimer's Association


Dementia Support Northwest - Project Lifesaver​

Project Lifesaver is an electronic technology program to locate missing persons. In partnership with Whatcom County Search and Rescue, DSNW serves as the local coordinating agency for Project Lifesaver (PLS) for those who wander. Enrollment in Project Lifesaver includes equipment maintenance, battery changes, and thanks to an anonymous donor, the upfront equipment costs are covered for each and every member.



Alzheimer's Association, Safe Return Program 
The Alzheimer's Association Safe Return® is a nationwide identification, support and enrollment program that provides assistance when a person with dementia wanders and becomes lost.

If an enrollee is missing, one call immediately activates a community support network. Visit the website or call toll-free 1-888-572-8566.

  • Taking Care of Aging Family Member: A Practical Guide. Wendy Lustbader and Nancy Hooyman. (paperback) New York: Free Press, Rev/Ex edition (1994).

  • Counting on Kindness, Dilemmas of Dependency. Wendy Lustbader. (paperback) New York: Free Press (1991).

  • The 36-Hour Day: A Family Guide to Caring for Persons with Alzheimer Disease, Related Dementing Illnesses, and Memory Loss in Later Life. Nancy L. Mace, and Peter V. Rabins. Mass Market Paperback (2001)

  • The Forgetting. Alzheimer's: Portrait of an Epidemic. David Shenk, New York: Doubleday (2001). Older Adults


As an older adult, you may have specific needs after a disaster. Use the information on this page to assess your needs and take simple,  low-cost steps that help you get better prepared.


Alzheimer's Association - Preparing for Emergencies


"Plan for Diabetes Care in Heat & Emergencies"


Diabetes makes it harder for your body to handle high heat and humidity. Changes in medication and what you eat and drink may need to be made when temperatures rise. During emergencies and natural disasters such as hurricanes or tornadoes, you may have other needs related to diabetes. ..


"Preparing Your Loved Ones for an Emergency"


Family caregivers have a lot to think about when it comes to keeping their loved ones safe and secure, especially in an emergency. Whether it’s an extreme weather situation or unexpected disaster, we’re all aware of how emergencies can turn life upside down in an instant. ..more


"Returning Home After a Disaster- Be Healthy and Safe"


When returning to a home that’s been flooded after natural disasters such as hurricanes, tornadoes, and floods, be aware that your house may be contaminated with mold or sewage, which can cause health risks for you and your family.Do not enter a building if you smell gas. Call 9-1-1. Do not light a match or turn on lights.


Smoke from fires can be dangerous for those over 65

PDF - Department of Health



The UCLA Alzheimer's and Dementia Care Video series provides viewers with practical tools you can use in a variety of settings to create a safe, comfortable environment both for the person with dementia and the caregiver. To learn more about the UCLA Alzheimer's and Dementia Care, please visit​



Understanding Difficult Behaviors: Some practical suggestions for coping with Alzheimer's disease and related illnesses

by  Anne Robinson  (Author), Beth Spencer  (Author), Laurie White  (Author), Eastern Michigan University (Editor), NA(Illustrator)


This book was written for caregivers of persons with dementia. Caregivers may include family members as well as staff working in nursing homes, assisted living programs, adult day center programs, home care agencies, hospitals, hospice care and other settings providing care to persons with dementia. This material is intended to help caregivers understand the many possible explanations for why challenging behaviors may occur. Practical coping strategies for responding to challenging situations such as agitation, wandering, incontinence and resistance to care are also offered. These suggestions have been compiled from a number of sources including conversations with famlies, Alzheimer's Association newsletters, books and journal articles. This book was first published in 1989 and has been a valuable resource for caregivers and dementia educators. Thousands of books have been sold nationally and internationally. The 2007 edition includes updated resource listings and color headings.



6 Steps to Help Prevent Falls in Older Adults 




Additional Resource:

Balance Exercises:




Driving -

UCLA webinar - “Driving Cessation: What Caregivers Need to Know”, Webinar presented by Linda M. Ecroli, PhD - clinical psychologist in the division of Geriatric Psychiatry

YouTube [41:09]


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